The model, set to be priced from about £8000, will be built in just one body style and is intended to appeal to buyers in the lower reaches of the small-car market, where Ford bosses say demand has more than doubled in the past two years.
The Ka+ will offer what Ford says are its established small-car values of robustness, cabin quality and good handling, while excusing the company from excessively cheapening its long-time class leader, the Fiesta, itself nearing replacement in 2017.
The Ka+, whose arrival “may not necessarily” signal the demise of the existing three-door Ka, is closely related to a four-door design study called the Ka Concept shown in Barcelona in 2013. However, the company denies that the model will be built in Brazil, which was one suggestion at the time.
The most probable production source is Gujarat in India, which already makes the company’s Fiesta-related EcoSport compact SUV.
Described by Ford bosses at the Geneva motor show as “very roomy”, the Ka+ has been under careful development for several years, and is the company’s way of avoiding the poor quality and consequent adverse publicity that accompanied early versions of the EcoSport SUV from the same source.
Ford’s European president and chief executive Jim Farley believes aggregate sales of the Ka+ and Fiesta could drive sales forward by 20% or even 30%, but insisted this is not the only reason for the launching a second model.
“A second B-car - which we don’t want to portray as merely cheap - allows us to focus more intelligently on what buyers require in this part of an explosively expanding class,” he said. “It’s a better way to serve the segment.”